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Ophthalmologic Emergencies

Division of Emergency Medicine Stanford School of Medicine

Challenges of Eye Complaints

Similar complaints (redness, pain, visual changes) may represent benign or vision threatening etiologies Rapid diagnosis and therapy can be vision saving Visual loss is devastating for the patient and physician Most residents are uncomfortable with eye complaints

General Approach to Eye Complaints

History - onset, trauma, history of same, discharge, perceived vision, field defects, associated symptoms (halos, headaches), allergies Physical Exam - Visual acuity, general inspection (pupils, obvious foreign bodies, discharge, lid eversion), fundoscopy, visual fields, slit lamp (cornea, anterior chamber)

Everting the eyelid

Common Eye Lid Disorders

Blepharitis - Acute or chronic eyelid inflammation, causing crusting of the lids (infectious vs. allergic) Stye - Acute staph infection of an eyelid follicle Chalazion meibomian gland cyst (painless, non infectious) often confused with a stye

Causes of the Red Eye

Conjunctivitis Bilateral (usually) Gritty feeling (not pain) Stickiness
Unilateral (usually) Lacrimation Photophobia (Pain!) Blurred vision Unilateral (usually) Lacrimation Photophobia (Pain!) Blurred vision

Conjunctival hyperemia Swollen lids Mucoid Discharge
Reduced Vision Cliary injection Constricted pupil Flare in AC Reduced vision Ciliary injections Localised corneal opacification, abrasion or FB


Keratitis/Foreign Body/Abrasion

Acute Glaucoma

Unilateral (usually) Lacrimation Photophobia (Pain!) Blurred vision Headache, Halos, Vomiting

Reduced vision Ciliary injection Corneal edema Dilated pupil Raised IOP

Many causes of the Red Eye

A middle-aged man comes in with complaints of a painful red eye. He said the pain developed after coming out of a movie theater. It feels like a migraine (headache, nausea, vomiting) The lights have halos around them Whats the probable diagnosis?

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

What are findings on physical exam?
Visual acuity: Conjunctiva: Cornea: Pupil: Anterior chamber:

What is the anterior chamber

Shallow anterior chamber

How can you demonstrate a shallow anterior chamber? OBLIQUE FLASHLIHGHT TEST

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

What is a normal intra-ocular pressure (IOP)? How do you measure the IOP?

Another Red Eye

Patient presents whose right eye is red, painful and very sensitive to light. When you shine the penlight in her left eye, it causes her pain in the right (affected) eye. What diagnosis does it suggest?

What might you find on examination of the anterior chamber by slit lamp?
Headlights in the fog Dust in a sunbeam

Cell and Flare

My babys got pink eye

A patient in a big hurry comes in to see you. She is disheveled and scantily dressed. She says, my babys got the pink eye She has a 5 day old infant with a bilateral eyelid swelling and a thick purulent discharge from both eyes.

My babys got the pink eye

Should you just give her the antibiotic drops? Whats the diagnosis? Where did the baby get the infection? Does mom need to be treated?

Eye pain and FB sensation

A middle-aged man complains of a foreign body sensation in the left eye Fluoroscein staining of the cornea reveals the following lesions. Diagnosis? Should we initiate therapy with steroids? Complications? Stain everyone!

Red painful eye in a contact lens wearer

A patient who wears contact lenses presents with a painful red eye Diagnosis? Treatment?

Eye pain in a contact lens wearer

Never patch a contact lens wearer Advisable to cover for Pseudomonas in a contact lens wearer No benefit to pressure patching in terms of rate of healing or pain reduction

Painful eye. Diagnosis?

Another red eye

A three-year old child presents with erythema and swelling around the left eye. The Pediatric resident says, Its periorbital cellulitis; start the kid on antibiotics and send him home. Are you comfortable with that?

Sudden painless visual loss

The nurse has an elderly man with a history of CAD and TIA's who says he cant see anything out of his left eye. The loss of vision was sudden and painless. What diagnosis does this presentation suggest?

Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO)

How long before this visual loss becomes permanent? Physical exam findings?
Visual acuity/field: Pupillary exam: Retina:

Doctor, I see flashes of light and a curtain has dropped over my right lower visual field Diagnosis?

Doctor, I cant see well out of my right eye. Its hazy and there are floaters Diagnosis?

Traumatic Conditions of the Eye

Poked in the eye!

A young boy presents to the ER after having been poked in the eye by another student. He is being seen by a resident who is just about to measure the childs intraocular pressure when you yell STOP!!!!!! Why are you so uptight? Now what should you do?

Open Globe Treatment

Emergency Ophthalmology Consultation Protect the eye Avoid eye manipulation NPO Prophylactic antibiotics Update Tetanus Antiemetics Analgesics, Sedation Avoid Succinylcholine?

FB sensation
A young male presents to the ER with foreign body sensation to this left eye. He was pounding a nail and felt something get into his eye. You examine patient and find that other than some photophobia, his exam is normal. You are about to discharge him when the attending says, hold on just a minute. What could you have possibly missed? How do you make the diagnosis?

Positive Seidels
You carefully examine the patient and place fluorescein in his eye. You see the fluorescein streaming. What is this called? What does it signify?

Drain cleaner in the eye

A patient comes to the ER having gotten some drain cleaner in her eye and it's causing her a lot of pain. The triage nurse tells her the wait to be seen is 1 hour and the patient becomes irate and starts to leave. You happen to overhear this conversation What should you do? Why? Treatment? How long?

Baseball versus eye

A young male presents to the ER after having been hit in the eye with a baseball. He says, "I keep seeing double when I look up". Diagnosis? Pathophysiology? Treatment?

Pathophysiolog y

Crepitus/tenderness over orbital rim or maxilla

Symptoms: Diplopia Epistaxis

Periorbital subQ emphysema Limitation of EOM Enophthalmos Anesthesia of the ipsilateral cheek and upper lip - WHY? Periorbital ecchymoses/swelling

Blunt Trauma
The patient may also have a hyphema Make sure to look with a slit lamp Some may be microscopic - Blurred vision - Risk of re-bleed, glaucoma

Blunt Trauma
They may also have a subconjunctival hemmorhage or lens dislocation.

Eyelid laceration
A young child presents to the emergency department with a small laceration of her left upper eyelid. What's that protruding from her laceration? What does it signify?

Eyelids dont have fat

Orbital fat usually protrudes through septal lacerations Fat in the lid laceration confirms the diagnosis High incidence of globe penetration and intraocular foreign bodies High risk for orbital cellulitis

Questions and Answers